A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 201 - 3/29/05

Alan Ehrgott a type of pocket gopherEdy Seehafer These wild burros found a loving home detail of book cover: "Rocks and minerals of California"

- BLM releases West Mojave Plan
- Imperial Sand Dunes plan approved
- Headlines and highlights: French Fire timber salvage, Imperial Sand Dunes robbery, national monument items, much more
- Wild horses - and a wild burro valentine
- Recreation on public lands
- Oil on public lands

- Abandoned mines
- Our readers write
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week: not a pickpocket gopher
      - Special status plant of the week
- Meet your advisory council members: Alan Ehrgott
- Profile: Edy Seehafer
- Photo album: Trails
- Bookstore feature: "Rocks and minerals of California"
- Selected upcoming events


"Long-Awaited West Mojave Conservation Plan Released" (BLM California news release, 03/24/2005)
The West Mojave Plan, the largest habitat conservation plan (HCP) ever developed in the United States, encompassing 9.3 million acres in San Bernardino, Kern, Los Angeles, and Inyo counties, has been jointly released, along with the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR), by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the County of San Bernardino, and the City of Barstow.

"BLM releases West Mojave plan" (Victorville Daily Press, 03/25/2005)
"The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday released its West Mojave Plan, a controversial 900-page document that will influence economic growth, development and environmental policies across the desert. The plan contains land management policies for more than 9.3 million acres — almost the size of Maryland and Delaware put together."

"Delicate balance" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 03/25/2005)
"The US Bureau of Land Management plan, encompassing 9.3 million acres of the western Mojave Desert, seeks to balance an ancient landscape of rugged volcanic mountains, 11,000-year-old creosote bushes and more than 100 species that depend on that habitat with mushrooming suburbs and strip malls."
(Free registration required.)

"West Mojave Plan looks for balance" (San Bernardino County Sun, 03/25/2005)
"After 12 years of heated debate and sometimes reluctant compromise, the nation's most sweeping habitat conservation plan attempts to balance wildlife protection and development within 9.3 million acres in the west Mojave Desert.",1413,208%257E12588%257E2782985,00.html

"Federal plans aim to control use of the desert" (Los Angeles Times, 03/25/2005)
West Mojave Plan and Imperial Sand Dunes: "Federal officials on Thursday released a pair of desert management plans to accommodate recreation, development and wildlife in the booming western Mojave and in the Algodones Dunes, a popular destination for off-road vehicles in far southeastern California."
(Free registration required.),1,3887334.story?coll=la-headlines-california

"Riders seeking smooth route" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 03/25/2005)
"Off-roaders: They're optimistic -- but skeptical -- that new desert roads will be opened for them....As of May 1, 5,098 miles of desert roads will be recognized as open routes, according to the much-anticipated West Mojave Plan...."
(Free registration required.)

"Plan will make builders buy desert conservation land" (Los Angeles Daily News, 03/26/2005)
"A federal government conservation plan will charge home builders in the Antelope Valley, Victor Valley and other parts of the western Mojave to buy desert land as preserves for desert tortoises and other wildlife." Spokesperson for environmental group says his organization "would sue to block the plan.",1413,200%257E20943%257E2782718,00.html


"Imperial Dunes Plan approved" (BLM California news release, 03/24/2005)
The Imperial Sand Dunes, one of the most popular recreation sites in the country with more than 1.2 million visitors annually, has a new land use plan balancing off-highway vehicle (OHV) use with protection of wilderness and threatened plant and wildlife species, and emphasizing a family-oriented safety and law enforcement program.

"Environmentalists oppose plan for Imperial Sand Dunes" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 03/25/2005)
"A federal agency says its new plan regulating how land is used in the popular Imperial Sand Dunes area will balance off-road use with the need to protect the wilderness and threatened plant and animal species. On Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management announced a Recreation Area Management Plan for the 160,000-acre area in Imperial County. The dunes draw more than 1.2 million visitors annually."
(Free registration required.)

"BLM OKs sand dunes plan" (Yuma Sun, 03/25/2005)
"The federal government approved a new plan for the Imperial Sand Dunes that divided 160,000 acres into eight areas, each with varying off-highway vehicle usage and environmental protection."

"Dunes plan hinges on lawsuit" (Yuma Sun, 03/26/2005)
"That portion of a 15-year plan for the Imperial Sand Dunes that addresses temporary closures still hinges on a pending lawsuit, despite the federal government's approval of the plan. A federal court in San Francisco is expected to hear the pending case in September, leaving federal agencies, environmentalists and off-highway enthusiasts stranded until then as to how the Bureau of Land Management's new plan will affect the closures....But BLM officials said that no matter which way the judge rules, [most] recreational off-highway vehicle users should not see much change."

"BLM inks plan to reopen vast Imperial Sand Dunes area" (Imperial Valley Press, 03/26/2005)
"Since 2000, 49,300 acres of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area have been closed to off-road vehicle use as part of a temporary, court-ordered settlement. That closure could end before the start of the next off-roading season in October following action this week by the US Bureau of Land Management."
(Free registration required.)


"French Fire's scorched timber won't go to waste" (Redding Record Searchlight, 3/23/2005)
Editorial: "Common sense shouldn't come as a surprise, but federal timber policy is intricate enough that you can never tell what will happen after a wildfire. Efforts to reap something useful from the ashes all too often fall victim to red tape and green activism. That makes it pleasant news to see that the Bureau of Land Management is allowing timely salvage logging of the area burned by last summer's French Fire. It won't bring back the homes lost by French Gulch residents, but it will prevent valuable timber from simply rotting."
(Free registration required.),2232,REDD_18098_3643225,00.html

"Beware the quicksand" (Victorville Daily Press, 03/25/2005)
"Experts agree to disagree on whether there is true quicksand along the Mojave River...Anthony Chavez, a rangeland management specialist for the Bureau of Land Management, said, 'I'm certain there are pockets of quicksand along the river and maybe in Afton Canyon.'"

"BLM implements Monument Management Plan decisions to protect resources and enhance visitor safety" (BLM California news release, 3/25/2005)
The BLM has implemented the plan decision approved last month in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Management Plan, prohibiting the discharge of gas- and air-propelled weapons and simulated weapons, including paintball and paintball-like weapons, recreational and target shooting, except for hunting, and restricting entry of unleashed pets on public lands within the Monument to protect cultural, biological, and geological resources and enhance visitor safety and enjoyment.

"Returned soldier faces new danger here" (Yuma Sun, 3/29/2005)
"A Yuman who came back from Iraq just two weeks ago was robbed at gunpoint Sunday night in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area....The thieves are believed to have entered the country illegally and then fled back to Mexico."

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)

"Protection push for Cache Creek upsets some" (Sacramento Bee, 03/26/2005)
"The plan to designate a 31-mile stretch from below Clear Lake Dam to the top of Capay Valley as scenic worries farmers." BLM manages some of the land bordering Cache Creek.
(Free registration may be required.)

Related: "Cache Creek Natural Area" (BLM California, Ukiah Field Office website)

"Eagle Lake Interagency Board of Directors meets April 13" (BLM California news release, 03/24/2005)
Topics ranging from campground reconstruction to a proposed Eagle Lake Triathlon will be discussed, when the Eagle Lake Interagency Board of Directors convenes for a field tour and meeting Wednesday, April 13, at the Spalding Community Association building at the north shore of Eagle Lake.

"National Monument Advisory Committee Seeking Nominations" (BLM California news release, 03/22/2005)
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Advisory Committee is seeking nominations for five positions opening in November 2005. The positions are for representatives for the cities of Cathedral City, Indian Wells, the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, the County of Riverside, and the Winter Park Authority.

"BLM district Advisory Council to meet in Barstow" (BLM California news release, 3/28/2005)
BLM's California Desert District Advisory Council will meet in formal session on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 in Barstow. Agenda items include presentations and reports on Adopt-A-Cabin, the West Mojave Plan, the Dumont Dunes Recreation Fee Demo Program, the new Desert Tortoise Recovery Office, and more.

"Public Invited to Earth Day Celebration at National Monument" (BLM California news release, 03/22/2005)
The Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service cordially invites the public to participate in the Earth Day celebrations at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center on Friday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"Thieves pilfer riches of past" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 03/28/2005)
"Burglaries spur Inland museums to improve the security of valuable collections....The stolen items hold cultural history, the stories of the families who made them and the texture of their lives, said [a] tribal elder of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. His great-grandmother took weeks and months to weave such baskets of deer grass and bear grass..." BLM agents helped track down one a perpetrator in one of the cases cited.
(Free registration required.)


These wild burros found a loving home"Valentines Day Adoption an Affair of the Heart" (News.bytes Extra, 3/28/2005)
Apparently for Lauren Brandt and Steve Miller, adopting two burros from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) during the Valentines Day adoption at its corral facility near Ridgecrest was a love affair of the heart. Read more and see photos.

"Wild Mustang and Burro Adoption Returns to Norco" (BLM California news release, 03/15/2005)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will offer about 80 wild Mustangs and 20 wild burros to qualified adopters at Ingalls Park in Norco on April 9-10 through its Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program.

"America's wild horses face uncertain fate" (Voice of America, 03/24/2005)
Includes audio reports in MP3 and RealAudio formats. "Late last year, without public hearings or debate, a provision was slipped into the federal spending bill that allows the BLM to sell thousands of these captured wild horses for slaughter. That's prompted horse lovers to try to save them." People interviewed for article differ on how wild horses should be managed.


"BLM South Yuba Campground Water System to be Replaced" (BLM California news release, 03/22/2005)
The Folsom Field Office, Bureau of Land Management, announced today that water will not be available at the South Yuba Campground in Nevada County until July because of installation of a new water system.

"Emergency Closure at Clear Creek" (BLM California news release, 03/22/2005)
Recent and continuing heavy rainfall has forced an emergency closure of the Clear Creek Management Area to all motorized vehicle use. This closure is in accordance with Federal Register Notice Vol. 5, No. 24 [CA-190-98-1610-AF-24-1a]. The closure is intended to protect public safety and natural resources within the Clear Creek Management Area.

"BLM to Begin Construction on South Fork American River Site" (BLM California news release, 03/22/2005)
The Folsom Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management announced today that construction of a new access road and parking lot on public land in the vicinity of Greenwood Creek and State Highway 49 along the South Fork of the American River about three miles north of Coloma in El Dorado County will begin on March 28. Greenwood Creek is a popular river access point for recreationists, especially kayakers, but will be closed to public use during the construction of the new facilities.

"Springtime is turkey time" (Stockton Record, 03/23/2005)
Wildlife biologist with California Department of Fish and Game says "most wild turkeys are found on private property, where getting written permission is the law. He noted public lands also hold good populations of gobblers. Bureau of Land Management land that borders foothill reservoirs; state wildlife areas such as Spenceville near Marysville and Tehama east of Red bluff; and national forests in Lake, Mendocino and Calaveras counties are prime locations. He recommends hunters obtain a free copy of 'Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California,' published by the DFG."

"Dogs cause havoc for sheep; ranger organizes a canine fair" (Salinas Californian, 03/28/2005)
" Almost 2,000 sheep dot the hillsides of the former Fort Ord every spring and summer, bravely munching on weeds to keep them from overwhelming the former Army base's native plants." But some legally off-leash dogs have chased down and killed sheep. "The area is popular with dog owners because it is one of the few places where leashes aren't required, said Tammy Jakl, a park ranger for the bureau. Jakl wants to keep the area leash-free, so she organized an informational dog fair to be held Saturday."

"Learn About Eagle Lake Trout Spawning and the Eagle Lake Basin" (BLM California news release, 03/24/2005)
Northern California outdoor writers are invited to this tour and meeting.


"Proposed legislation calls for fees from operators, companies with idle wells" (Bakersfield Californian, 03/25/2005)
Several bits of information from a meeting of the California Oil and Gas Work Group which includes BLM. One short item: "The BLM has received 162 drilling permits the last six months."
(Free registration may be required.)

"Agency probes wells" (Bakersfield Californian, 3/28/2005)
"The US Bureau of Land Management is investigating whether [a subcontractor] improperly plugged and abandoned wells on federal land in Kern County." A company spokesperson said the well operator "did not know there was a problem with the wells before the BLM informed the company....The BLM is trying to determine how many wells might have been improperly plugged and abandoned...."
(Free registration may be required.)


"Man falls in mine shaft hunting owls" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 03/28/2005)
"A pleasant hike on a gorgeous day took a frightening turn when two local men tried to rappel down a mine shaft in the Rademacher Hills with homemade apparatus." One sustained "moderate" injuries including a broken arm and was retrieved from the shaft by about 20 rescue personnel from several agencies including BLM.

"The BLM connection" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 03/23/2005)
"[The] assistant director of the Office of Mine Reclamation, said there are no statistics available on how many people get hurt or killed each year in abandoned mines, as the data is not being specifically collected and these incidents are seldom reported. 'Every month or so, a local newspaper will report a motorcycle operator getting hurt or killed in an abandoned mine site,' [he said]. 'We estimate there are about 47,000 abandoned mines throughout the state....About 89 percent of abandoned mines in the state pose some sort of hazard to the public.'"

The 1,000 sets of "The BLM in Pictures: Images from the Public Lands" was offered while supplies lasted. Thank you for your interest, and your continued support of News.bytes! We will be mailing out the postcard sets as soon as we can.

We received hundreds of comments with requests for the free postcards offered in last week's News.bytes. Here are just a few:

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a pocket gopherWILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Not a pickpocket gopher
Which of the pocket gophers does not appear in California? Take our online quiz and find out. (Thumbnail from photo by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences)

Do you know sturgeons? If you missed last week's online quiz, it's not too late to guess - or apply your profound knowledge of wildlife trivia:

Pulsifer's milk-vetchSPECIAL STATUS PLANT OF THE WEEK: Pulsifer's milk-vetch
Perennial herb with widely branched, slender stems. Petals are whitish and lavender veined, with the banner 1/4 - 3/8 inch long. Fruit are bladdery, translucent, 3/8 - 3/4 inches long, and 1/4 - 7/16 inches wide. Its habitat is sandy or rocky soil, often with pines or sagebrush.

Alan EhrgottMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Alan Ehrgott... the executive director of the American River Conservancy and represents National/Regional Environmental interests on BLM's Central California Resource Advisory Council.

Edy SeehaferPROFILE: Edy Seehafer
Environmental Protection Specialist with BLM's Barstow Field Office, Edy says that she was drawn to this occupation by discovering nature on night walks she used to take as a child through city creeks. She is also a genealogy "nut" and is in regular contact with 2nd and 3rd cousins everywhere. Read more in this week's News.bytes Profile:

Learn about desert wildlife or coastal animals on short, self-guided nature trails -- or tackle all or portions of the grueling Pacific Crest trail. You'll find both types of trails on public lands managed by BLM in California. Between these extremes, you can find dozens of one-day adventures, from the badlands to the lush sloughs near picturesque Arcata.


"Pacific Crest Trail, Owens Peak segment" (BLM California, Bakersfield Field Office website)
The trail north of Walker Pass provides great views; first west to the Kern River Valley and then east into the desert. During the spring and summer you will find a variety of wildflowers. This segment is about 41 miles long.

"Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail" (BLM California, Ridgecrest Field Office website)
BLM's Ridgecrest and Bakersfield manage over 120 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The trail crosses four designated wildernesses - the Bright Star, Kiavah, Owens Peak and Domelands.

"Trails" (BLM California website)
Links to information on trails in the BLM California recreation database, and on web pages maintained by BLM California field offices.

detail of book cover: "Rocks and minerals of California"BOOKSTORE FEATURE: "Rocks and minerals of California"
Information on Identifying and Locating Minerals: This guide contains photographs and descriptions of the rocks and minerals found in California.


"BLM introduces CTALS and Township Geocoder to GeoCommunicator Website" (BLM California news release, 03/23/2005)
(BLM national news release, 3/23/2005) CTALS - Cases That Affect Land Status - is a set of records affecting land ownership and status that have been converted from the BLM’s Legacy Rehost 2000 (LR2000) - Status system. Users can view historical records including land grants issued to railroads and schools, land exchanges, withdrawals, homestead entry patents. The Township Geocoder is a joint effort between the Bureau of Land Management and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to provide township geocoding capabilities to aid Western states in firefighting efforts and the analysis of historical fire data.

(Note: the Upcoming Events database is on a secure Web server, and your browser may state "You are about to view pages over a secure connection" and ask you to "Trust a Security Certificate" from the Department of Interior that hosts this site. To view the pages, you must select "Yes" or "OK" for both questions.)

03/29/2005 - W equals Wildflowers
Palm Desert

04/01/2005 - California Desert Advisory Committee Meeting

04/02/2005 - There's a Monument in Your Backyard
Palm Desert

04/02/2005 - Cache Creek Wildflower Hike

04/03/2005 - Clear Creek Wildflowers and Wild Plants Walk

04/03/2005 - Don't Hug the Teddy Bears!
Palm Desert

04/09/2005 - Spring Workday Extravaganza

04/09/2005 - Inimim Forest Scotch Broom Work Day

04/16/2005 - Cache Creek Wildflower Hike

04/16/2005 - Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour
San Simeon

04/16/2005 - North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Hike - Birding
El Centro

04/16/2005 - Spring Wildflower-Birding Field Trip
Cameron Park

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